Huge Leap In Logic


coren2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Huge Leap In Logic
Synopsis Elisabeth and Coren retrieve intelligence related to Cassidy's status and location. The news is not good, but they refuse to give up, however futile the situation seems.
Date September 8, 2009

NYPD Headquarters

Two surprise visitors in twenty-four hours, the second possibly less welcome than the first — he hasn't quite decided — and still Coren's at work. Nevertheless, he dreaded the mere idea of stepping in today, feeling the futility of his job pressing upon him. He's only once before felt so helpless, and that was when he was holding his first wife — dying — in his arms. Very few people have approached him in the last few hours as he gives off a distinct 'get the fuck away from me and mind your own bloody business' vibe as he slaves away at the requisite paperwork, all leading up to his being put on leave until the department shrink gives him the OK to be back at work doing his job, and even then, it'll probably be desk work. Nobody has asked him how he got the few minor abrasions on his face or knuckles, but of course, there are plenty of rumors.

Elisabeth is just getting back to the squad room following finding forensics specialist Rebecca Nakano on the bed of her apartment blitzed on Refrain. Her mood has been … bad. At least no one is even remotely questioning her mood on all this — her de facto partner has been taken by Humanis First, her best friend at the precinct has been grabbed by a serial killer. That's excuse for a lot of Bitch behavior. And they don't even know about her own issues. By the time Liz walks into the interview room Coren's sort of staked out as his own for paperwork (barring someone needing it later), her expression in very careful neutral. "Thought you were supposed to be done with that this morning," she says tightly. As if she really thinks he'll be anywhere else right now with Cass missing. Not.

"Hah," Coren says. It's barely even a word and more of a sharp exhale. "This is all so bloody pointless. They're having me fill out paperwork so that I can sit on my hands, as though that will somehow help things." Another signature. If he could keep track of how many forms he's had to sign. If he had a nickel for all of them, he'd have enough to get a coffee and donut. Real coffee, not the engine degreaser they serve at the precinct. "That was the plan, anyway." He rubs at his temples and then reaches for a bottle of ibuprofen he has set next to him. Water chases two of the aqua liquigels down, styrofoam cup set back down next to the bottle. Getting slugged in the head by Mortimer didn't really agree with his minor concussion, but aside from some nasty headaches, he's doing fine. "Spent an hour waiting to see a doctor about my head. Again. As though I didn't have better things to do."

Elisabeth narrows her eyes on him. "Why?" she demands. "What'd I miss this time? I was at the hospital with Nakano… and her mother. Found her fucking out of her mind on Refrain at her place this morning."

"Got hit by a prosthetic arm," Coren remarks. "Had a visit from Cassidy's old boyfriend, and then someone he sent along this morning. And you know me, I barely sleep, and can't expect to get a wink until we find her." There he goes fighting off tears again. He unclenches a fist and rubs his face, "Nakano was on Refrain? Fuck." He puts a head in his hands, "I knew there was something, I should have asked. When we went to Old Lucy's to check on the whole Peyton Whitney and Wendy Hunter abduction, I knew something was off. I mean, it took three days to get in touch with her. If that wasn't a red flag, I don't know what was." His hand hits the table then, "Damnit!"

With one hand resting on the doorframe at head level, Elisabeth studies the man at the table with a carefully neutral expression. She's distracted for a moment by her phone, and she frowns slightly at the number. Stepping all the way into the interview room, Elisabeth closes the door behind her and then seals herself inside a silence bubble to answer it. Although he can hear absolutely nothing that is said, he can see the moment her face loses all color. The pupils of her eyes dilate wide with shock and Elisabeth starts to shake. Whatever it is that is said is brief, and when she hangs up the phone, her blue eyes are unfocused. Or more accurately, focused on something else more internal entirely.

"Liz," Coren says, rising from the table and approaching slowly as Elisabeth's face pales so. He treads only so close, knowing she's still rather iffy on the personal space thing. But as soon as she seems to leave the present in that room, he steps a bit closer and reaches a hand to grasp hers, hoping the warm hand will help to anchor herself back to reality. "Liz, talk to me." His own stomach knots up, the situation as it is. There doesn't seem to be any good news these days. "What was the call, Liz?" No Harrison. Not anymore.

She visibly startles when he touches her jerking backward against the wall with a thump as she drops the silence field. She hadn't bothered to keep listening for him, merely trusting him to keep anyone else away from her — and she looks afraid of him for just a split second. Elisabeth pulls herself together, though, by force of will. And her jaw clenches. "I put… a contact… on attempting to locate Cassidy," she tells him quietly. "It's… not good news. She can't place it except 'west'. Next time zone over, possibly — the clock was off by an hour based on when she had the … episode. He's…. he's cutting her, Coren." Her voice is shaky, and sweat is sheening her face suddenly. "He's… she's been burned. Cuts sealed closed." She sucks in a deep breath, feeling the panic attack slamming forward, and starts fumbling in the pocket of her jacket for the pill bottle she's been carrying since yesterday. It's getting hard to breathe in here, Coren's too close. And she can't back up any further, either. SHIT.

Coren's own face pales at the news, and it's no surprise to see Liz start to have a panic attack. "Fuck." He hasn't processed the time zone comment yet, it's too busy backing up and grabbing both his chair and styrofoam cup of water. He sets the chair with its back to Liz, sets the water on the ground near her, and then takes a seat on the chair, hopefully far enough away. "Breathe, Liz." The part of him that wants to hold her and help her through it is thankfully overruled by the part of him that knows she needs space to process. Of course, if worse comes to worst, he'll get the pill for her. It's only once he's seated that he notices his own hands are shaking, only it's his whole body that is. "Breathe, Liz, slow deep breaths." It seems the second time he says it is for him too, although the panic slowly ebbs away with the introduction of anger. Rage, slowly boiling.

Elisabeth sinks to the floor — if it weren't so pathetic, the term 'copping a squat' might actually be funny in this context — and sits on her heels, fumbling with the bottle and dropping it on the floor before she finally manages to steady enough to get the damn thing open and drop a little white pill into her mouth where she dry-swallows it. She's reasonably sure she'll just wear the water if she attempts it. Resting her elbows on her knees and her head back against the wall, the blonde fights her way through the physiological responses. Deep breaths indeed. Hyperventilating right now would be bad. She doesn't say a word to Coren, merely trying to keep her tears from sliding out of her eyes as she looks at the ceiling.

Coren's taking some deep breaths himself, trying to settle himself enough to resist overturning a table or possible taking his chair to the one-way glass. Finally he looks over to Liz again with a look of agitation and sadness intermingled. Because this whole scenario sucks. Tears are almost always on the verge now. "Liz, is there anything I can do for you right now?"

Shaking her head slightly, Liz merely keeps breathing until she's managed to get herself under control. When she finally looks at him, it's with shuttered eyes. "Somewhere west," she murmurs. "I'll send you the text of what my contact saw…. you can read it." There's a pause. "I don't know if reading it makes it better or worse than hearing it out loud," she admits.

"Definitely worse," Coren says, "You can mis-hear easier than you can mis-read." He swallows, not particularly enjoying the idea of in any way coming into contact with the information again. "But send me the info. At least this time I'm prepared for what I'm going to read." As though that makes it much better.

With a faint nod, Elisabeth pulls her phone out and taps in some things to the keypad. "Transcript's forwarding to you now." She hasn't read it — she merely listened to Cat give her the rundown. "For all the good it does… she's west and in a building shaded by trees. That's all she can see out the window." She looks defeated. "This is fucking hopeless," she says softly and buries her face against her knees so he can't see the tears as she starts to cry in earnest.

Coren pulls out his phone to receive the transcript, shedding a tear for Liz right now, as he's shed countless tears for Cassidy — only when he's alone. He takes a very deep breath before he reads it.

Blonde woman on a hook. Cut up. Numbers on cuts. Mad scientist-like. O'Shea's body similar, but the wounds are burned closed, cauterized. On an IV. Medical-like, but not. Ceiling made of wood. Old fashioned. Bright lights, medical sheet. Medical supply access? Small window, green visible, likely trees or shrubbery of some kind. Numbers included a six on the wound from shoulder to stomach. A clock was visible. All this should be through the woman's eyes. Clock showed 10:30— it's 11:30. Central Time Zone maybe?

Coren reads it only once, because it turns his stomach the first time. "Oh God." He actually has to wipe tears from his eyes to finish reading. Blonde woman. "Jessy Delaney's dead, I think. Either that or another fucking victim." He puts the phone back on his belt and lowers his head, feeling quite hopeless as well, especially because he can't touch Liz in her state. "Wait. Son of a bitch." His head snaps back up, "I know where they are. Well, the vicinity anyway. Because the son of a bitch was there, visited me at Megan Manning's funeral. They have to be in Illinois." He hopes they're in Illinois.

Elisabeth looks up and says wearily, "They 'have' to be? Christ, Coren, that's a huge leap in logic." And Illinois is still a fucking big state. "Why do you think he'd go back there? He's never left any kind of clue before."

Sure, he's grasping at straws, but it's hope. "Christ, I don't know Liz. It's the best I've got, though. It's where he abducted Megan from. It just … I don't know." Coren sighs. "We should get a nationwide APB out on the sketch we got from Abby and on my car. And make sure Illinois starts the search, particularly around Oak Forest. It's the only fucking option we have, Liz. I am not leaving any stone unturned. I'm not going to let that fucker kill her." He closes his eyes, taking a few breaths. He can still feel she's alive. "She's still alive, and I'll be damned if I don't stop looking. Mortimer's going to turn himself into the Company if they help find her, he sent this woman to my house at three in the morning. She doesn't miss. You give her a gun, and she hits her target." Listen to the big cop man talking about dragging a civilian into this mess. He doesn't mention the fact that she illegally acquired a rifle to show him her skill.

Once more resting her head back against the wall, Elisabeth nods slightly. "Good," she says quietly. "Any and all help we can get at this point. My contacts are a bit spread thin — they're more focused on Humanis First due to the fact that they've had Felix for a week." She chokes on the man's name too. Unbending her legs to shove herself upward, she stands. "I'll tell the desk sergeant to send out the APBs. Technically, you're benched." Her voice sounds tired as she turns to go; she's losing hope, but she'll follow every possibility with dogged determination. "If you think of anything else, let me know."

Coren swallows at the name too. "Don't remind me," he says. Because he tries to forget. "Get a call into the Chicago field office of the FBI. Tell them to be on the lookout for my car." He tears one of the forms he's supposed to fill out in half and writes the details of his car, even one of his contacts with that office of the FBI, and hands it off. "I don't think it will be where he is, but it might be close at least. If they even find the bloody thing. I'll let you know the instant I think of something." He doesn't mention that he has some idea of what Azrael's doing from that one wound mentioned in the transcript — that he's giving Cassidy her scars back. The mere idea makes him sick to his stomach, and he's not about to burden Liz with any more. "And Liz? When we find her," he uses when, "you don't have to see her. I won't make you come with me." Because she had a panic attack just reading about it, he's not sure even he is strong enough to see it.

Elisabeth looks back over her shoulder, not turning her body toward him, her blue eyes bleak. "And you think that will change things?" Because oh yes, Cassidy's issues are going to exacerbate Elisabeth's in ways that the blonde can barely comprehend right now. "You don't think I'm going to feel everything she's going through as soon as she's in range? Even if I didn't know from firsthand experience myself?" And she knows enough about Cassidy's history to know that this is 'merely' a reenactment. "I may have access to a telepath who can remove the memories of these days from her altogether. I … choose not to do it with my own for my own reasons. But if Cassidy wants it, I think I have the contacts to make it happen."

"As though I won't be," Coren says, eyes red-rimmed from fighting back all the tears. He doesn't even want to think about the emotions that are going to hit him when he gets close. "I'm going by choice, and I'm leaving that to you as well. We just have to make sure we prepare people for this. We might not be able to act." The idea of being incapacitated just when he's getting close to her makes him feel ill again. "We might just take you up on that." At least they won't feel whatever physical pain she's in. "I remember what she was like … It's not going to be …" He can't even finish that statement. He remembers what Cassidy was like when Liz was taken. Hell, he felt a good portion of it coming from Cassidy. And it's now when he realizes the point to this. That link is being exploited for that very specific purpose. "We have to kill this fucker."

"You're only just now coming to that conclusion?" Elisabeth asks darkly. Because right now? If she could get a negator in place and put a bullet in the head of that fucker while he was trapped there? She'd kill whoever he inhabits to be able to kill him. She doesn't say that aloud though. "Let me know if anything comes of it."

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